Many homes built before the 1980’s are poorly secured to their foundations and many homes built before 1960 are not bolted to their foundations at all! This means that in an earthquake your house could shake right off of its foundation leading to catastrophic damage.

If your home has wood framed cripple walls it may be at an even higher risk of collapsing in an earthquake. Cripple walls are (typically) short wood framed walls that sit on top of your concrete foundation and support your floor. These are often found on hillside homes where are they used to level out your first floor. In an earthquake, if these walls are not properly braced, they can collapse bringing your home down with them.

No work will ever guarantee that your home will be damage-free in an earthquake, but for homes with common construction types, there are some relatively simple steps to reduce your risk. For most homes, the best place to start is to reinforce the connection between your foundation and your floor*. This can include:

  • Post to beam connections
  • Pad to post connections
  • Foundation wall to mud sill connections
  • Mud sill to rim joist connections
  • Cripple wall shear bracing

If your home is more than 2 stories tall, has cripple walls more than 4’ high, has unique construction, or if you want to go above and beyond the basic first steps, you should consider working with a qualified structural engineer to create a seismic retrofit plan. If however, your home is like most in the Willamette valley, Total Comfort can provide the expertise, labor, and materials needed to take the first and most important actions toward reducing the risk of you home being severely damaged in an earthquake.

*Most insurance companies require this work before issuing an earthquake policy.

Seismic Retrofitting